A YEAR IN SAIGON

An affecting account of a year working with Amerasian children in Saigon, by the former WNBC (New York) critic and Today Show regular. Throughout, Kelly reminds us of how good she's had it: a picture-book childhood in Nebraska, a high-profile career, and plenty of money. ``I loved every minute of it,'' she says frequently. But by the late 1980's it had all begun to ring hollow, and in 1988 she visited Vietnam to break with her success and to find a self not quite so high-powered. She resolved to return as an English teacher for children of Vietnamese mothers and American fathers, who number an astounding 30,000. She was met with cold resistance by Vietnamese functionaries, but finally taught courses at the Amerasian Transit Center, and, following that, in restaurants and parks. What might have seemed do-gooderish or at least ill-advised turned out well: The children were hungry, in poor health, and often ostracized, so they sought Kelly out. Her portraits of them here are deft and touching. There's Raymond, a black Amerasian who speaks flawless Midwestern since he was raised on American bases; and there's Kim, 18 and beautiful, who had one letter from her father, but never another. Kelly may or may not be a fine teacher, but she fed every hungry child she met and upon her return to New York lobbied ardently to bring them to America. She presently sponsors several Vietnamese children herself. Often giddy, but beneath the gloss there's an excellent reporter who offers an unassuming, detailed look at today's Vietnam, and at the persecution by neglect of the children we left behind. (Eight pages of b&w photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: July 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-671-75090-9

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1992

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THE ABOLITION OF MAN

The sub-title of this book is "Reflections on Education with Special Reference to the Teaching of English in the Upper Forms of Schools." But one finds in it little about education, and less about the teaching of English. Nor is this volume a defense of the Christian faith similar to other books from the pen of C. S. Lewis. The three lectures comprising the book are rather rambling talks about life and literature and philosophy. Those who have come to expect from Lewis penetrating satire and a subtle sense of humor, used to buttress a real Christian faith, will be disappointed.

Pub Date: April 8, 1947

ISBN: 1609421477

Page Count: -

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1947

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INSIDE AMERICAN EDUCATION

THE DECLINE, THE DECEPTION, THE DOGMAS

American schools at every level, from kindergarten to postgraduate programs, have substituted ideological indoctrination for education, charges conservative think-tanker Sowell (Senior Fellow/Hoover Institution; Preferential Polices, 1990, etc.) in this aggressive attack on the contemporary educational establishment. Sowell's quarrel with "values clarification" programs (like sex education, death-sensitizing, and antiwar "brainwashing") isn't that he disagrees with their positions but, rather, that they divert time and resources from the kind of training in intellectual analysis that makes students capable of reasoning for themselves. Contending that the values clarification programs inspired by his archvillain, psychotherapist Carl Rogers, actually inculcate values confusion, Sowell argues that the universal demand for relevance and sensitivity to the whole student has led public schools to abdicate their responsibility to such educational ideals as experience and maturity. On the subject of higher education, Sowell moves to more familiar ground, ascribing the declining quality of classroom instruction to the insatiable appetite of tangentially related research budgets and bloated athletic programs (to which an entire chapter, largely irrelevant to the book's broader argument, is devoted). The evidence offered for these propositions isn't likely to change many minds, since it's so inveterately anecdotal (for example, a call for more stringent curriculum requirements is bolstered by the news that Brooke Shields graduated from Princeton without taking any courses in economics, math, biology, chemistry, history, sociology, or government) and injudiciously applied (Sowell's dismissal of student evaluations as responsible data in judging a professor's classroom performance immediately follows his use of comments from student evaluations to document the general inadequacy of college teaching). All in all, the details of Sowell's indictment—that not only can't Johnny think, but "Johnny doesn't know what thinking is"—are more entertaining than persuasive or new.

Pub Date: Jan. 4, 1993

ISBN: 0-02-930330-3

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Free Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1992

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